No ransom was paid to release the Turkish hostages held by Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday.
At a press conference held in Ankara, Erdogan said the release of hostages was a result of “diplomatic and political negotiations”.
He described their release as “a diplomatic victory”.
On Saturday, Erdogan said the hostage release was successful thanks to a “sensitive surveillance operation” carried out by the Turkish intelligence agency. He thanked the prime minister and his team “for this operation which was pre-planned, whose every detail was calculated, which continued all through the night and was successfully completed in the early morning.”
ISIS militants captured the Turkish diplomats from the Turkish consulate in Mosul, north of Iraq, on June 11 when the group seized the city.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu cut short his visit to Azerbaijan to receive the 49 hostages in the Sanliurfa province at the border with Syria. He accompanied them on a plane to Ankara.
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that the Turkish intelligence agencies succeeded in returning all the hostages without any harm coming to them.